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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Own ..., December 8, 2008
This review is from: Dead Space (Video Game)
I've been a fan of the survival-horror genre for a long time now. Way back when, I remember being in college and running out to buy my PSone after seeing the original 'Resident Evil' for the first time. Since then, the category gained a great deal of popularity and we've been treated to the birth of terrific franchises like Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and now Dead Space.

One of things I was impressed by the most was that the game play itself is outstanding. You can see a very defined purpose for every object, every room, every weapon, and every tool in the game. It isn't like there are weapons and ammunition just wantonly scattered all over the place. This is a mining ship and crew, so 90% of everything you use in-game is related as such. Your weapons are repurposed mining equipment (a saw, a cutter, a bolt shooter, etc). Most of the ammunition you use will be stored in lockers, closets and storage cubicles. Each part of the ship is completely unique. For example, you'll never wander into a room and get the feeling that you've been there before. That its just a room that's been re-skinned to look different. The camera is the same over-the-shoulder style that 'Resident Evil 4' used and anyone that played that gem (and if you're reading this, you should have) should immediately feel familiar with the controls.

I love that everything is done in real-time. Do you need to check your inventory, hit the store, or double-check an objective? All of this is accomplished via a pop-up holographic projection that your mining suit creates directly in front of you. So if you need to do anything, you better be sure you're in a cleared room.

On top of a beautifully rendered ship, the tight hallways create an unnerving sense of claustrophobia. You'll find yourself just creeping down every hall with your tool-of-choice drawn, just waiting to see what's lurking around each corner. The low-lighting and mangled equipment will have you double checking every shadow for movement. You have a 'sprint' button, but (trust me) on your first round of the game you'll hardly ever use it. You truly never know when something is going to leap out at you.

The 'Necromorphs' are relentless too and 'Dead Space' made the way you kill them completely original with the introduction of the 'strategic dismemberment' system. Since these creatures aren't human and just reanimated dead tissue, head-shots don't make a bit of difference. In fact, in some instances it just makes them angrier. The way to stop them, is to selectivly seperate their legs and arms from their bodies and tear them apart. Each creature is a little different too, so what work against one won't necessarily help against another.

What I felt was the best part of the experience though (and I'm not sure it gets enough credit) is the sound. Whether its the sound effects from the equipment, the functionality of the room, or the distant screams of the few remaining crew, if you have a 5.1 surround set-up then turn down the lights and pump-up the volume. The sound will have you totally creeped out and jumping out of your seat.

Although it's just an outstanding game and I can't praise it enough, 'Dead Space' might have one or two areas where there's a little room for improvement. The first is when you finish the game and unlock the 'Insane' difficulty.

There are two things related to this. The first is that, if you start an 'insane' round, you need to start from scratch and you can't carry over any weapon upgrades or equipment that you may have earned from a previous session. I would have made this a little more flexible. Myself, I know I would have been a little more likely to have played on 'insane' for my second game if I could have carried over all my tricked-out rig and gear. This would have allowed me to continue chasing down several of the achievements that eluded me on my first run-through. The second issue with 'insane' is that the ONLY time you can start an 'insane' round is immediately after finishing the game. For example, if you choose to restart a game on the difficulty you just finished (to keep the items you just earned) you'll have to finish that second game before 'insane' unlocks again. Again, I think if they were a little more flexible here, it would have made the replay value a little higher then it is.

Occasionally, there is a small bit of back-tracking within the ship and the feeling toward the end of the game that you're just on a series of 'fetch quests.' I would have maybe tried to include a little more personal choice in the game that might affect the outcome in some way. It would make the gamer feel a little more personally invested in the experience and (again) jack the replay value up a little bit.

In the elite crowd of 'Bioshock' and 'Gears of War', 'Dead Space' is probably one of the best games I've played on the 360 so far. The story is as intelligent as it is engaging, the action is extremely violent, the design and graphics are frighteningly beautiful, and the atmosphere that's created is genuinely scary as hell. If you're a fan of the survivor-horror genre this is one that you owe to yourself to check out.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2008 12:03:39 PM PST
One helpful on the way..........hopefully!!!
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Location: Philadelphia, PA United States

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